Athens HGO R120 Review

Athens HGO R120

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Pros

  • Very comfortable grip
  • A breeze to set up
  • High quality finish
  • Smooth draw cycle
  • VERY VERY quiet

Cons

  • Only offered in Signature Colors
  • Fast but not as fast as others
  • Draw length specific cam system
  • TRCS is in the way if a kisser button is desired

Editors' review

Athens Archery and Hallowed Ground Outdoors went together on the R120 and turned out a real solid bow. Basically, the R120 is a Recluse with a few extra pieces of technology added to increase comfort and shootability. A whisper quiet vibration free top notch bow for $799.99 that is available on the Athens website or on the Hallowed Ground Outdoors website for purchase. Originally the bow was supposed to be a limited edition and they weren't the easiest to find but apparently Athens changed their minds due to popularity.

Limbs/Riser

The R120 has a solid piece layered limb that comes in draw weights from 40-70lb in 10 pound increments. The limbs are held in place by the rear pivoting limb pockets, a solid connection with tight tolerances for improved accuracy. The riser is what gives this bow its curb appeal, the amount of cut outs in the riser gives it that almost waffle look of some of the new Mathews bows. Because of these cut outs the bow's weight gets down in the sub five pound mark so it competes with the super lightweight big brand bows.

Grip

The grip being one of the pieces that sets this bow apart from the Recluse means that they put some thought into how it feels. It is a CNC target grade system with special engravings unique to the HGO series bow. This grip is very slim, it looks like you are just grabbing onto the riser but there are some side plates to help the shooter keep a hold on the bow. This is a very comfortable grip that promotes a solid hold and helps to prevent canting the bow left to right making this a real shooter.

Finish/Color Options

Most people that touch an Athens bow will say that it has possibly the best finish of any bow they have touched, the R120 is no different. The riser has a super smooth feel, with no runs in the dip or any machining marks of any sort. The HGO version really stands out in a crowd due to its unique engravings that the guys from Hallowed Ground had a hand in; from the limb pockets to the grip you will find different markings that are appealing to the eye.

Eccentric System

The R120 is yet another Athens bow that uses the EV2X Velocity Duo Cam, which is dual cam bow that creates generous speeds of 330+ fps IBO, all with having a smooth feel. Tuning is a breeze with this system due to the cams being slaved together which creates identical rotation. The cam system however is draw length specific from 25"-30" in half inch increments, with that being said it's easy to see that in order to change the bows draw length a bow press will be required. However the let off is adjustable from 65%-80% which makes the bow feel a little more customizable for each shooter.

Draw Cycle/Shootability

A 70 pound bow that feels more like 65; now that says a lot about a smooth draw cycle. The poundage grows steadily until it breaks over, which happens quickly but it may just feel that way due to a very solid back wall. This bow holds like a rock; and thanks to the slim grip, it doesn't try to cant in your hands which makes focusing on the shot even easier.

Vibration Dampening

Lack of vibration was apparently something that the guys from Hallowed Ground Outdoors where interested in because this bow has plenty to help out in that area. The TRCS (Torque Reduction Cable Slide), while its main function is to reduce torque at full draw, it without a doubt aids in the reduction of vibration because it allows the string to roll torque free. It comes stock with an STS which cuts out a ton of noise, AKA vibration, post shot. Another great aspect of the STS it will stop the string from hitting baggy clothing or even an arm holding the bow. Athens put some Bowjax on the limbs to aid in reducing vibration, mounted as close to the cams as possible meaning that it absorbs a great deal of vibration as soon as it's created. All of these add together to equal a bow that is completely dead in the hand for each shot.

Best Usage

Beyond a doubt the R120 was designed for hunters because it was designed by hunters. It's accurate, smooth, fast and quiet as a mouse. If that doesn't sound like something that makes you want to head for the woods nothing will. This bow is perfectly capable of going toe to toe with a target bow out on a 3D range any day, but its one true home is in the woods looking for critters to kill. The guys from Hallowed Ground Outdoors took what they loved from a hunting bow and basically perfected it to form an absolute machine.

R.120 vs. PSE Evo 7

Bow Athens HGO R120 PSE Evo 7
Version 2012 2012
Picture Athens HGO R120 PSE Evo 7
Brace Height 7 " 7 "
AtA Length 32 " 32.25 "
Draw Length 25 " - 30 " 26 " - 31 "
Draw Weight 40 lbs - 70 lbs 40 lbs - 70 lbs
IBO Speed 330 fps 327 fps - 335 fps
Weight 4.2 lbs 4.4 lbs
Let-Off 65% - 80% (adjustable) 75%
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compare more bows
That's right we are comparing the R120 to one of the bows that many people call the best (PSE Evo 7). As far as specifications and numbers go, these to bows appear nearly identical. However, when it comes to grabbing on and letting the arrows fly the R120 feels more comfortable. The grip may have a lot to do with this and because Athens put so much time into theirs, it gets a 10 on a 10 point scale. The other difference was the break over feeling a touch smoother on the Athens. These days it's hard to compare two bows side by side and see a definite standout winner; with that being said the comparisons were close but the slight edge goes to the R120.

Summary

The Athens R120 HGO "limited edition" is a 32" axle to axle, 7" brace height, 330+fps IBO arrow flinging machine. A comfortable grip and extreme attention to detail make this the shooter that it is a deadly combination of speed, accuracy and silence. All of the great pieces that Athens put into the R120 a person would believe it to have the same MSRP as some of the larger bow companies but that is not the case, this is a reasonably affordable bow at $799.




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